Los Reyes Magos

©Dora Ficher-Los Reyes Magos; Watercolor, pen and ink on watercolor paper. 8x8
©Dora Ficher-Los Reyes Magos; Watercolor, pen and ink on watercolor paper. 8×8

On January 6, most of the Hispanic world celebrates “El Dia De Reyes”, the Epiphany, remembering the day when the Three Wise Men following the star to Bethlehem, arrived bearing their treasured gifts for the Baby Jesus.

Even though it’s a Religious event, in Argentina, everyone celebrates it as more of a fun, gift giving holiday.

On the night, of January 5, before going to bed we used to put our shoes outside our bedroom door. We would also leave hay and water for the camels, and some cookies for Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar. We would leave the hay and the water near a door or a window left open so Los Reyes Magos can enter.

The next morning, we would wake up and had gifts next to our shoes. For us kids it was one of the most fun days of our summer vacation in Mar del Plata.

My cousins, my sisters and I would sleep up on the 3rd floor and try to stay awake waiting for the Reyes Magos. We would take turns looking out the window. Of course we would all fall asleep while waiting.

As we got older this is what we found in our shoes…

This is what was in our shoes when we got older.
This is what was in our shoes when we got older.
My sister Claudia and me in Mar del Plata. We were 6 and 8 yrs. old
My sister Claudia and me in Mar del Plata. We were 6 and 8 yrs. old
With my grandfather, sisters and cousins.
My grandfather on my mom’s side with my cousin’s, sisters and me. We would all wait for Los Reys Magos. I’m the oldest of 12 cousins. There were only 7 of us here, the other 5 were not born yet.

 

This work is part of my Hiraeth (meaning “homesickness”) series.

To read about it, click here and here .

 

The Barquillero in Mar del Plata

 

Draft of an oil painting I did of the house in Mar del Plata. ©Dora Ficher
Draft of an oil painting I did of the house in Mar del Plata. ©Dora Ficher

There was one thing that all of us kids looked forward to every day at the beach, the  barquillero. A barquillero  is a person who sells a special kind of wafers. But it wasn’t just the wafers we wanted, it was the whole process of getting the wafers.

This is a container with the barquillos with the roulette wheel on the top.
This is the container with the barquillos with the roulette wheel on the top.

The barquillero wallked all along the beach, stopping when he was called like an ice cream man does at the beaches around here, at least at the NJ beaches. The children would spin the roulette wheel that pointed to different numbers from 1 to 4. Depending on the number it landed on, that  was the number of wafers you would get. It was a game we all liked to play every day.

The wafers are made of a sweet baked wheat dough without yeast and sweetened with sugar and honey . The wafers are corrugated but flat and thin profile with a shape similar to a boat, hence its name,”barquillos,” which means little boats.

The Waffers
The Wafers

While we looked forward to the Barquillero, in the same way, the adults waited for the coffee man on the beach every day. He would go around kind of singing…”cafe…cafe…”

Cafetero
This is a typical coffee vendor on the beech.

 

On the beach with cousins and friends.
On the beach with cousins and friends.
Starting to collage memories into my painting.
Starting to collage memories into my painting.

 

This work is part of my Hiraeth (meaning “homesickness”) series.

To read about it, click here and here .

 

 

Childhood Memories of Colorful Buenos Aires

 

"The Beginning" Mixed Media, Collage, Encaustic, Oil Sticks ©Dora Ficher
“The Beginning”  Collage, Encaustic, Oil Sticks ©Dora Ficher

I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on September 14, 1951 in Sanatorio (medical center) Otamendi . At the time my parents lived on Inocensio Arias street in Castelar the west part of Buenos Aires.

Sanatorio Otamendi, the hospital where I was born.
Sanatorio Otamendi, the hospital where I was born.
Here I am with my mom and my dad. I was 3 moths old.
Here I am with my mom and my dad. I was 3 moths old. My first trip to Mar del Plata (the shore we went to every summer. Check out those tiny shoes I’m wearing.

My father had his laboratory there. He did blood tests and everything else a lab does.

I remember that we had a wooden 2-person swing in the backyard. I am amazed that I remember this since we moved out of this house when I was 3 years old.

Screenshot 2015-03-06 13.32.43
The 2 person swing

I recall that my grandmother’s housekeeper, Paula, would come to pick me up, and take me on the train to my grandparents’ house. At that time, going to their house was the most wonderful thing in the world. They had a big house with a big glass and iron door. It was called a Petit hotel, I guess because it had many bedrooms, a big garden/patio and several rooms for the people who worked there (the cook and housekeepers).

My grandparents home
My grandparents home

When I visited my grandparents’ home, I slept in the room with my aunt, who was only 14 when I was born. I felt like a princess every time I was there.

My grandfather and me. His name was Jaime.
My grandfather and me. His name was Jaime. I was about 20 months.

My grandparents had a television set (I am talking about the 1950s). One of those big Zenith sets.

Screenshot 2015-03-06 16.04.54
The Zenith TV

 

Whenever I was there I loved to have breakfast in the “comedor diario” – the casual dining room. I could watch the TV while eating. TV’s were something very new at that time. We didn’t have a TV in our house so this was a treat.

My grandmother with my sister Claudia and me.
My grandmother with my sister Claudia (sitting) and me.
Working on my first painting of this series
Working on my first painting of this series
Starting to collage and write memories the this painting.
Starting to collage and write memories the this painting.
©Dora Ficher - work in progress. I added a photo of the door to my most memorable house. It's the door I have on my painting.
©Dora Ficher – work in progress. I added a photo of the door to my most memorable house. It’s the door I have on my painting.
The Street of my grandparent's house
The Street of my grandparent’s home. Antonino Ferrari, in Buenos Aires.
23593_449926003288_1604410_n (1)
The door to the entrance of my grandparent’s house.

This work is part of my Hiraeth (meaning “homesickness”) series.

To read about it, click here and here .